What happened to Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man cast? It’s been 20 years since the first Spider-Man movie swung onto our screens and ushered in the dawn of superhero blockbusters. The third highest-grossing film of 2002, Spider-Man, was an enormous critical and commercial hit.
Spider-Man saw nebbish and nerdy Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) get superpowers after he’s bitten by a genetically engineered spider. Blessed with all the abilities of a spider, Peter becomes the masked vigilante Spider-Man and must face the deadly Green Goblin who’s terrorising the good people of New York.
Raimi’s Spider-Man movie remains as popular as ever, and the cast has gone on to enjoy very successful lives. Some have been nominated for Oscars – a few even won them. A few found success behind the camera, becoming accomplished directors and producers. Others scored huge parts in some of the biggest and best movies ever made, and a couple even returned in new MCU movies. Here’s everything you need to know about the Spider-Man movie cast.
Who is in the original Spider-Man cast?
- Elizabeth Banks – Betty Brant
- Joe Manganiello – Flash Thompson
- Cliff Robertson – Uncle Ben
- Rosemary Harris – Aunt May
- JK Simmons – J. Jonah Jameson
- Willem Dafoe – Norman Osborn
- Kirsten Dunst – Mary Jane Watson
- Tobey Maguire – Peter Parker
Elizabeth Banks – Betty Brant
Banks played J.Jonah Jameson’s long-suffering secretary Betty Brant. But before she answered phones for New York City’s most irascible editor, she’d already made a name for herself starring in cult favourite Wet Hot American Summer.
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Following Spider-Man, she’d appear alongside Tobey Maguire in the Oscar-nominated Seabiscuit. Banks would play Brant in all three of Raimi’s Spider-Man movies, and following the trilogy, she continued to work as an actor appearing in films like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Slither, and The Lego Movie.
She also earned two Primetime Emmy Award nominations for the role of Avery Jessup on the 30 Rock and had a recurring role on Scrubs. In recent years Banks has taken up producing and directing films like Pitch Perfect 2, Charlie’s Angels, and the upcoming Cocaine Bear.
Joe Manganiello – Flash Thompson
A bully you defintiely wouldn’t want to fight (unless you had spider-powers), Manganiello played Peter Parker’s teenage tormentor Flash Thompson. While Flash would eventually end up being humiliated by Peter, Manganiello has had a slightly more successful life.
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Following Spider-Man, Manganiello appeared in a slew of big-screen projects, including Magic Mike, What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Rampage and Sabotage. Manganiello even got to briefly play a supervillain appearing as Deathstroke in both versions of Justice League. He’s perhaps best known, however, for playing the werewolf Alcide Herveaux on the TV series True Blood.
Cliff Robertson – Uncle Ben
The man who told Peter Parker the immortal words that “with great power must also come great responsibility” enjoyed a long career even before he slipped into Ben Parker’s paternal brogues. Robertson got his start in the 1943 picture, We’ve Never Been Licked and worked solidly up until the ’70s, even winning an Academy Award for playing Charly Gordon in the film Charly.
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Unfortunately, in the late ’70s, he was blacklisted in Hollywood after exposing studio embezzlement. It took years, but he finally started working again in the ’80s and eventually starred in all three Raimi Spider-Man films, the third of which ended up being his last movie. Robertson died in 2011 of natural causes.
Rosemary Harris – Aunt May
Harris, like her onscreen husband, was a veteran actor literally before the character of Spider-Man even existed. Harris got her start in the UK seaside towns of Eastbourne and Margate, but stardom beckoned, and she quickly made the leap over the pond to Broadway.
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Not long after, she began working in TV and, eventually, films. Over the course of her seven-decade-long career, she’s appeared in movies like Uncle Vanya, The Boys from Brazil, Tom & Viv, as well as, of course, the Spider-Man trilogy, where she played Aunt May.
Harris also has an impressive collection of awards, including an Emmy, a Golden Globe, and a Tony. She was nominated for the Best Actress in a Supporting Role Oscar for Tom & Viv but lost out to Dianne Wiest.
J.K. Simmons – J. Jonah Jameson
J.K. Simmon played the man who desperately wanted pictures, pictures of Spider-Man, J. Jonah Jameson. Simmons is a legend of stage, television, as well as films and is considered one of the most prolific actors working today. Simmon got his start on TV series like All My Children and Popeye Doyle before breaking into movies with The Ref.
While he’s appeared in far too many movies and TV series to list here, on the big screen, he’s probably best known for playing Mac MacGuff in Juno, Commissioner Gordon in the DCEU, and Terence Fletcher in Whiplash, for which he won an Academy Award. Meanwhile, on TV, he made his name playing Dr Emil Skoda on Law & Order and Vernon Schillinger on Oz.
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He’s also lent his voice to a number of animated series and videogames, of which his most notable roles are Stanford Pines in Gravity Falls, Tenzin in The Legend of Korra, as well as Cave Johnson in Portal 2. Simmons has the honour of being the first of the original Spider-Man cast to make the leap to the MCU, playing Jameson in both the Sony and Disney movies.
Willem Dafoe – Norman Osborn
Every great hero needs a deadly nemesis, and they don’t come more dangerous than Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin (the best Marvel villain). This cackling menace may have looked like a rejected Power Rangers bad guy, but he was still terrifying.
Dafoe made his big-screen debut in Heaven’s Gate, although he is uncredited thanks to a fallout with the director, but that didn’t stop him from making a name for himself. He was nominated for his first Oscar after starring in Platoon and followed it up by playing Jesus for Martin Scorsese in The Last Temptation of Christ.
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Dafoe received his second Oscar nomination for Max Schreck in Shadow of the Vampire, and his career’s gone from strength to strength ever since. He’s appeared in films like The Fault in Our Stars, John Wick, The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Florida Project, which saw him nominated for his third Oscar. Dafoe shares a record with his Spider-Man co-star as the “longest career as a live-action Marvel character” after reprising the role of Norman Osborn in Spider-Man: No Way Home.
Kirsten Dunst – Mary Jane Watson
Aspiring actor Mary Jane was brought to life by Kirsten Dunst. Dunst was an early starter in Hollywood, appearing in Interview With A Vampire when she was just 10 years old and followed it up with star turns in Jumanji, Small Soldiers, and Little Women. As she grew up, she took on more adult roles appearing in Sofia Coppola’s The Virgin Suicides and Bring It On.
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After appearing in all three Spider-Man movies, she continued to work, appearing in pictures like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Marie Antoinette, The Bling Ring and Midnight Special. Dunst received her first Academy Award nomination for her role in 2021’s Power of The Dog.
Tobey Maguire – Peter Parker
While Maguire’s career was arguably defined by playing Spider-Man, he, like Dunst, was a child star. His first role was in The Wizard, a pretty naff kids movie that’s effectively just an advert for Nintendo, but he followed that up with This Boy’s Life, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and Pleasantville.
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After Spider-Man, he starred in Seabiscuit, Brothers, and The Great Gatsby. Maguire’s also a prolific producer helping to make movies like Rock of Ages, Brittany Runs a Marathon, and Nobody. He recently reprised the role of Peter Parker in No Way Home and is set to appear in the TV series Extrapolations.